When I was a child, the best day of the entire year would be Christmas Day. I would count down the days leading up to it for weeks in advance, growing more and more excited as time passed. The night before, on Christmas Eve, I would be desperate to go to sleep so that I could wake up early, but I was so worked up that I often counted sheep until the early hours of the morning and would wake up every half an hour after that.
As an adult, today is my Christmas Day. It’s the final day of the school year, we said goodbye to the students for six glorious weeks and wished the staff that are leaving the best of luck for the future. And then, in a dignified and mature manner, I shot out of the school like a rat up a drainpipe and joined my friend in the pub.
I’ve worked in the British education system for eight years now, and this has been the toughest academic year I have ever experienced. I like my job, and I’m lucky to work in an excellent school with staff and students that I enjoy spending time with. However, in the last year the changes in curriculum and the growth of the number of courses and students at my school have meant that my workload has almost doubled. In my personal life, I have moved house twice, my elderly cat died, I was in hospital for a week and off work for a further five and another of my cats was diagnosed with diabetes, requiring twice daily injections at 6am and 6pm. It’s been stressful, and I am feeling physically and mentally exhausted.
However, this particular day and the weekend that follows is the one weekend of the year where I do absolutely nothing and don’t feel guilty about it. Of course, I have a mountain of work that needs to be completed over the summer, both in my personal and professional life, but for this one weekend I am going to relax, put my feet up and just breathe.
It’s the best present I could ever wish for.
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